Thu. Jul 25th, 2024


Video caption, ‘Almost hit my son’ – Space junk crashes through Florida home

  • Author, Rachel Looker
  • Role, BBC News, Washington

A Florida family whose home was hit by space debris earlier this year is seeking compensation from US space agency Nasa for property damage and mental anguish.

The 1.6lb (0.7kg) metal object punched a hole in the roof through two layers of ceiling in Alejandro Otero’s home in Naples, this past March.

Nasa had said the object was part of some 5,800lbs of hardware that was dumped by the International Space Station after it had new lithium-ion batteries installed.

Mr Otero said his son was nearly injured by the impact.

A press release from the law firm Cranfill Summer lists damages including non-insured property damage loss, business interruption, emotional/mental anguish and the costs for assistance from third parties.

Attorney Mica Nguyen Worthy said space debris “is a real serious issue because of the increase in space traffic in recent years”.

“My clients are seeking adequate compensation to account for the stress and impact that this event had on their lives,” she said in a statement.

Mr Otero told CBS affiliate Wink-TV that the device created a “tremendous sound” as it blasted into his home.

“I was shaking. I was completely in disbelief. What are the chances of something landing on my house with such force to cause so much damage,” Mr Otero said.

The debris was determined to be part of a stanchion used to mount batteries on a cargo pallet.

“The hardware was expected to fully burn up during entry through Earth’s atmosphere on March 8, 2024. However, a piece of hardware survived and impacted a home in Naples, Florida,” the agency said.

The ISS will “perform a detailed investigation” on how the debris survived burn-up, according to Nasa.

The agency has six months to respond to the Otero’s claims.

Space junk has been a growing a problem. In April, sky watchers in California spotted mysterious golden streaks moving through the space.

US officials later determined that the light show was caused by burning debris from a Chinese rocket re-entering earth’s orbit.

In February, a Chinese satellite known as “Object K” burned up as it re-entered the atmosphere over Hawaii.

Last year, a barnacle-covered giant metal dome found on a Western Australian beach was identified as a component of an Indian rocket. There are plans to display it alongside chunks of Nasa’s Skylab, which crashed in Australia in 1979.




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